One of the primary functions of the incorporation of human rights paradigms into the field of public health is to advance the provision of care for underserved populations who may suffer from stigma, socioeconomic disadvantages, or other factors that contribute to health disparities. Incarcerates in United States prisons or jails are a severely underserviced population—provision of healthcare for inmates rarely meets international human rights standards, especially in regards to female prisoners who constitute a minority of incarcerates with unique and unmet health needs. Lack of adequate healthcare in the US penitentiary system may be due to the fact that federal and state prisons are ubiquitously under-funded and that they house a population which is stigmatized for its criminal status (Lewis, 2006).
The National Commission on Correctional Health Care has set quality standards in correctional facilities, but inmates in these facilities are generally excluded from community efforts to improve health outcomes, are excluded from nationally based health surveys, and frequently participate in below standard healthcare systems. All of these factors prevent people in correctional facilities from experiencing the benefits of scientific knowledge and from participating as healthy members of societies upon exit from institutions (Binswanger, 2009).
|Keywords:||Human Rights, Prison Health, Women’s Health, Diabetes, Chronic Disease Advocacy, Incarceration Health, Women Prisoners|
MSPH Candidate, International Health Department, Health Systems, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA